Jason Howmans


Javascript, the once toy language, is fast becoming one of the most used programming languages in the world.

Back in 2010, a highly controversial post by David Arno did its rounds on the internet. He wrote:

To my mind it is self-evident that JavaScript is a toy programming language, but clearly it isn’t self-evident at all. So why do I make this claim and how can I defend it?

He went on to justify his statement by citing its lack of type security, that Javascript not truly object oriented and so on. The arguments that David made back then are still (mostly) valid, but in the five years since his post Javascript has exploded.

js owning active repos on GitHub. sourced from loggly.com

Since 2012 – just two years after David Arno’s post – Javascript pushed its way to the most used language on GitHub – helped by the introduction of NodeJS for server-side Javascript support – it has only been going up since.

People love Javascript. They love that it can be made to run just about anywhere; they love that it can be picked up quickly; they love that it isn’t a compiled language. I suppose you could say many of the weaknesses of Javascript are also strengths.

toys are fun

In 2012 a Javascript library called Johnny Five hit the scene. Johnny Five uses a protocol called Firmata to talk with micro controllers like the Arduino. This was revolutionary in the JS scene. It opened the door for hackers to inadvertently contribute to the “internet of things”.

To show you how crazy this is, here’s a gentleman controlling a drone with a ukulele:

what’s next…

I’ve quoted Atwoods law in a post before, it goes like this: “any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.”.

I recently went to a talk about Nativescript which is a promising step towards writing native apps with Javascript. It’s impressive, but things like this make me a bit nervous because they are adding another layer between the programmer and the raw metal. How far will this go?

Whether we like it or not Javascript is still moving fast. If you’re a lover of Javascript, then belt up and enjoy the ride. If you’re a hater, I suggest you get ready for the show.

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